The actor had received a posthumous nomination for his performance as trumpet player Levee Green in the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which was released on Netflix in November.
It was Boseman’s final film performance, as he died of cancer in August 2020, at the age 43.
While many had expected the Best Actor prize would got to Chadwick, it was actually given to legendary actor Sir Anthony Hopkins for his performance in The Father.
The Best Picture winner was announced before the Best Actor winner on Sunday – a shift from tradition, which many initially speculated was done so the ceremony could end with a tribute to Chadwick.
Instead, it led many people to be even more disappointed when the Black Panther actor’s name was not called:
Chadwick performance as Levee Green has earned him wide praise this awards season.
This year, he also made history by becoming the first person to score four SAG Award nominations in a single year.
Chadwick also received the Best Actor award at the 12th annual African American Film Critics Association Awards earlier this month.
The late actir’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted that award on his behalf, delivering a powerful tribute to the late actor and his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which also stars Viola Davis as the famous blues singer.
“He would be so grateful for the recognition of everything that he gave to Levee Green,” Ledward said. “While the work would always remain paramount, the work is made possible by the process. The process allows you to reach your inner voice, so you have to protect it.”
“Thank you, Chad, for always doing the work,” she added.
If Chadwick had won, he would have been the second actor to posthumously win the Best Actor award. Peter Finch won for his performance in the 1976 film Network.
Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in The Dark Night. The film premiered in July 2008, several months after he died.